There is something different from this year’s BlizzCon event. The first is because the event is held completely online, so that the name has been slipped as BlizzConline. Second, being online, anyone can take part in the program free of charge. Third, this event is held after Blizzard celebrates its 30th birthday.
Automatically Blizzard has quite a few surprises for us, both for veterans who have followed the development of Blizzard since the days of the Warcraft franchise that didn’t exist, as well as for modern gamers who might just know Blizzard after Hearthstone was released in 2014.
Diablo II: Resurrected
We start from what might sound the most surprising, namely the remastered version of Diablo II, one of the best RPG actions released in 2000.As a remaster, Diablo II: Resurrected brings significant improvements in terms of visuals, as well as support for 4K resolution. and a refresh rate of 144 Hz.
All of Diablo II’s 2D graphic assets, from character models to item icons in the inventory, have been updated to 3D here, and all of the lighting effects also look much more realistic. In addition to visuals, Blizzard also improves the audio aspect by providing 7.1 surround sound support.
Blizzard ensures that the gameplay presented will be identical to the original version, but they have also implemented a number of quality-of-life updates such as shared stash between characters, global servers for multiplayer mode, auto gold loot (optional), and a tidier user interface. including an extra panel to display detailed character stat information.
Diablo II: Resurrected also includes the Lord of Destruction expansion, which means that players can create characters with both the Assassin and Druid classes from scratch. But the most interesting part is, Blizzard wants everyone to be able to play Diablo II: Resurrected by releasing it on all modern platforms: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, to the Nintendo Switch.
Diablo II: Resurrected was produced by Vicarious Visions (still part of Blizzard Entertainment), the same team of developers who worked on the remake of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. It is not yet known when this game will be released, but Blizzard is targeting this year too. For those who are impatient, you can register on the site to take part in the alpha technical testing phase.
New class in Diablo IV
Diablo IV is still far from being released, but that doesn’t prevent Blizzard from disclosing more and more details about it. One of the most recent is the announcement of a new class for Diablo IV, namely Rogue. Well, not entirely new, because Rogue is actually one of the classes available in the first Diablo game, which was released in 1996.
Apart from announcing a new class, Blizzard also provides a few details about the PvP mode in Diablo IV. Simply put, there will be several specific areas in the Diablo IV open world where players can attack each other. After defeating someone, players can cut off and take the ear, just like in Diablo II before.
The open-world system in Diablo IV will also involve locations that players can change permanently. For example, in an area that was previously a small village, players could eradicate enemies who controlled it, then afterwards the villagers would return to occupy the area, giving players access to vendors that wouldn’t exist had they not taken action.
New details about Overwatch 2
After announcing Overwatch 2 at BlizzCon 2019, Blizzard finally has more details to reveal, including details about its newest hero, Sojourn. Based on the teaser video released, Sojourn is likely to enter the DPS role. The weapon is a kind of railgun with two firing modes: full-auto, the style of an assault rifle, or a precision-shot that can be charged. Unfortunately, there is no information about the skills it has.
Also interesting is Blizzard’s plans to overhaul the characters that fall into the tank category. They even have the intention to change the name of the role to brawler, with the aim of being able to adopt a more flexible play style.
Blizzard uses Reinhardt as an example. Instead of being limited to being a shield for the team, the brawler version of Reinhardt can later become more offensive thanks to the range attack option which can be activated twice per cooldown, as well as the Charge skill which can be stopped.
Furthermore, Blizzard will also consider the idea of passive skills for each role. Some examples of passive skills are knockback reduction for tanks, bonus movement speed for DPS, and auto heal for support (after a few seconds of receiving no damage).
Apart from all that, it’s a shame that Overwatch 2 still doesn’t have a release schedule at all until now.
Expansion for World of Warcraft and World of Warcraft Classic
Shadowlands Expansion which was released in November 2020 might start to feel boring for some players at this point. The good news is, Blizzard has prepared an update titled Chains of Domination for him, and there will be a new city called Korthia, a ten-boss raid, and an eight-boss mega-dungeon to explore. So big of this update, Blizzard still doesn’t have a release schedule for it.
Turning to WoW Classic, a separate game released in 2019 will apparently receive its first expansion, The Burning Crusade. Interestingly, instead of forcing all WoW Classic players to accept the expansion, Burning Crusade will instead be released as a separate server. That means players are free to choose whether to move their characters to the Burning Crusade servers and receive new content, or to continue the adventure in the original Azeroth.
Hearthstone’s newest expansion
Forged in the Barrens is the title of Hearthstone’s newest expansion due out this spring. Lore is from Warcraft, with many characters and creatures from the Orc race. A total of 135 new cards to collect, and the new keyword in this expansion is “Frenzy”. The minion that carries this keyword has a deadly ability, which will activate automatically after receiving damage.
Blizzard also announced a new mode called Mercenaries, which basically lifted many elements from the roguelike game genre. Instead of using their respective card collections, players must use the available Warcraft character choices, then undergo various random challenges before fighting the final boss. During the journey to that final enemy, the progressions through which all are going are permanent.
Blizzard Arcade Collection
Finally, as part of the way Blizzard celebrates their three decades, they re-released three of their classics: The Lost Vikings, Rock N Roll Racing, and Blackthorne. The three of them are packaged into the Blizzard Arcade Collection and have been released on PC, PS, Xbox, and Switch.
Each of the games can be played in their original mode, or the new mode, which includes a number of local multiplayer upgrades for The Lost Vikings and Rock N Roll Racing, a new level for Blackthorne, and of course the saving feature. Even if you are not interested in playing the game, this bundle can be purchased for those who want to get access to extra materials such as game artwork, development assets, interviews and so on.